We carefully select our tomato varieties from our own seed-stock and other local growers to ensure they will do well in the many micro-climates of the Bay Area. Vivid colors and complex flavors highlight our 2016 selection of old favorites and new varieties with rich heirloom history.
YELLOW MORTGAGE LIFTER
A beautiful yellow version of the regular Mortgage Lifter. It has the same great size and taste except this variety is bright yellow in color. Always popular with attendees at the Heirloom Garden Show, this big heirloom is richly flavored and quite rare.
Indeterminate, Fruit weight 1lb+
The History of the Mortgage Lifter
Beautiful big, oval, pointed fruit with a fine sweet old time flavor! A good all-purpose variety.
The first pink fruited heart shaped variety was introduced by the Henderson seed company in 1924 or so – called Oxheart, it was sent to them by a customer, presumably as a mutant originating amongst their other large non-heart pink variety Ponderosa. Livingston also listed it a few years later as Giant Oxheart. Following on from that, Livingston introduced Yellow Oxheart.
David’s favorite! An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor.
History of the Cherokee Purple Tomato
Indeterminate, Fruit weight 16oz
SUNRISE BUMBLE BEE
Chefs love the luminous swirls of reds and oranges, inside the fruits and out! Everyone loves the sweet, fruity taste, too! Oblong little fruits weigh barely an ounce, sometimes show a pronounced beak at the blossom end.
Over a decade in the making, independent breeders at Artisan Seeds (Baia Nicchia Farm (Sunol, CA) ) applied traditional breeding methods to develop this unusual new class of tomato. Defining features include not just outstanding flavor but julienne (elongated) and rounded cherry shapes in a patterned palette of reds, oranges, golds, pinks, and greens. The Tiger Series and ‘Blush’ are the julienne type, while the Bumble Bee Series has the traditional spherical shape.
Very sweet, 1 1/2″ yellow, pear-shaped fruit have a mild flavor, and are great for fresh eating or for making tomato preserves. Very productive plants are easy to grow.
The pear tomato originated in Europe in the 18th century. Within the next century both England and the United States were introduced to the fruit. In 1752 records show the English using it for flavoring soups.
The first recorded yellow pear tomatoes were grown in Europe in 1805. In 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Vancouver, once the headquarters of the fur trade in the Northwest, operated a seven-acre farm filled with flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, among which was the yellow pear tomato.
In 1847 three varieties of tomato, including the pear tomato, were grown for the table in the United States. In 1863 seedsman Joseph Ellis offered over a hundred varies of tomato seeds for sale in Utah and Denver, including those of the yellow pear tomato. In 1889 George Thomas & Co. sold pear tomatoes.
Beautiful chartreuse with deep lime-green stripes, very attractive. Flesh is bright green and very rich tasting, sweet with a sharp bite to it (just too good to describe!). A favorite tomato of many high class chefs, specialty markets, and home gardeners. Yield is excellent.
Potato and tomato breeder Tom Wagner of Everett, Washington developed Green Zebra. He used four heirloom tomatoes, including Evergreen, a medium-size green tomato. As Tom tells it, he first conceived the idea of a green striped tomato when he was growing up in the 1950s. At the time, he regularly ordered seeds from Gleckler’s catalog. Evergreen intrigued him. In his words, “I thought it was a crazy-looking tomato. It was late-maturing, and I didn’t know when it was ripe. When is a green tomato ripe?” Tom felt that Evergreen’s fatal flaw was its tendency to crack – it is the perfect tomato for throwing, but fell apart in his hands. Right then, Tom determined that he would develop a green tomato that wouldn’t crack.
In 1983 Tom introduced Green Zebra Tomato in his Tater-Mater Seed Catalog. The catalog was published from 1983 through 1986 and has since become a research and development enterprise.
Indeterminate, Fruit weight 3oz
A favorite of many gardeners; large fruit with superb flavor. A great potato-leafed variety from 1885! Beautiful pink fruit up to 1-1/2 lbs. each!
History of the Brandywine Tomato
These gorgeous, large, pleated yellow fruits have red striping from the blossom end and are deliciously sweet and juicy with few seeds. The vigorous, heat and drought tolerant vines need a long summer to mature and should be staked.
Originally from the Zapotec people of southern Mexico in the 1800’s.
(Hybrid) Darkest tomato bred so far, exceptionally high in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful anti-oxidants. In the early stages of fruit development, Indigo Rose develops a dark purple pigment in its skin where exposed to direct sunlight. Green when unripe, purple-red when ripe, the 1-2 oz., cocktail-sized tomatoes have good flavor with ‘plummy’ overtones.
Developed by Jim Myers at Oregon State University using traditional plant breeding techniques.
(Hybrid) Roma style, imported from Italy where tomato breeding is a passion, the tall productive vines of Pompeii load up early with heavy clusters of big elongated plum tomatoes with rich flavored meaty flesh. Good sauce tomato.
(Hybrid) These scrumptious hybrid tomatoes are specially bred for abundant yields on space-saving 2½ – 3′ plants. They are perfect for growing in large post and patio containers. Super Bush bears juicy fruits with full-sized sweet tomatoey flavor, not bland or watery like so many other bush varieties.
Which is your favorite?!